Five Tips to Help You Prepare for Board Transitions and Exit Interviews

Five Tips to Help You Prepare for Board Transitions and Exit Interviews

By Karen Nason and Steve Smith

If you are planning exit interviews for volunteer leaders ending their board service, consider one or more of the following ideas to help ease the transition, gather feedback, and identify engagement opportunities going forward.

  1. Start the discussion early, around 3-6 months before the end of their term. When talking with them, frame the conversation by letting outgoing board members know that although they are leaving their role, they are not leaving their community. Consider including a continuing board leader, such as a president or president-elect, as well.
  2. Remind volunteer leaders that things may seem very different as they move from being in a stream of information into what may feel, at first, like a void.
  3. Assure them that the experience they had will impact their career moving forward and the contributions they made while on the board will continue to serve the association moving forward.
  4. Consider scheduling time for an exit interview. Let the questions frame the conversation, but be prepared to have the conversation go in directions that you might not anticipate. Be ready for, and open to, constructive criticism.
    • What did you enjoy most about your board service?
    • What did you enjoy least? What would have made the experience better?
    • What are the three most valuable lessons you have learned about governance matters?
    • Do you feel that you were able to make a difference?
    • Do you feel that you had access to the information and training necessary to be an effective board member and to make decisions at board meetings? If not, how can we improve?
    • What ways do you think you would like to continue to be involved in our association?
  5. Depending on your association’s culture and the opportunities available, you may want to provide a suggested list such as writing newsletter articles, contributing to a blog, being a mentor at conference or you may choose to leave the question open-ended.

Taken from handout from Life After Leadership: Preparing, Sustaining, and Supporting Board Members Through Governance Transitions presented at the 2015 ASAE Annual Meeting.

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